NDP leader Andrea Horwath calls for major hydro shakeup

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks about high electricity prices during a campaign stop Friday...

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks about high electricity prices during a campaign stop Friday morning next to the Bluewater Bridge in Point Edward. She also called for changes in the way Ontario develops renewable energy projects. PAUL MORDEN/ QMI AGENCY

Paul Morden and Jennifer O’Brien, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:53 PM ET

SARNIA, Ont. — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she wants to lower Ontario’s power bills by merging its four electricity agencies, capping what their CEOs are paid and getting better prices for power exports.

Horwath blitzed across southwestern Ontario on Friday, with stops in Sarnia, London and Kitchener, saying consumers’ soaring power bills are “out of whack.”

In London, Horwath also took a swipe at PC Leader Tim Hudak, who’s vowed to chop 100,000 public-sector jobs while promising to create one million jobs over eight years.

“He’s going to put one million people to work, but he’s going to take 100,000 people out of work,” Horwath said.

Electricity is an especially hot issue in the southwest, home to many industrial wind farms the Liberal government pushed, at huge cost, to taxpayers, as it finally delivered on its 2003 vow to shut down Ontario’s dirty coal-fired power plants.

In Sarnia, the shut-down Lambton coal plant was the backdrop as Horwath said Ontario is losing $1 billion a year exporting discount power to its neighbours. Meanwhile, consumers are “feeling squeezed like never before because their electricity bills continue to climb higher and higher and higher,” she said.

“After 10 years of Liberal government, the electricity system we have in this province simply makes no sense to people,” she said.

Earlier in Sarnia, Horwath was greeted by anti-wind turbine protesters — a frequent sight in southwestern Ontario, where the giant wind farms have divided many people and alienated municipalities after the government took away local control over where the turbines can be built.

“It’s a sad day in Ontario when we have families pitted against each other, when we have neighbours pitted against each other, when we have communities pitted against each other,” she said.


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